Lions Drop First Decision of 2021, Fall on Road to New York Red Bulls

HARRISON, N.J. (May 29, 2021) - Orlando City SC (3-1-3, 12 points) saw its unbeaten run to start 2021 come to a halt on Saturday afternoon, with the Lions falling 2-1 on the road at the New York Red Bulls (3-4-0, 9 points). 

The home side built up a two-goal lead that lasted much of the match, however Orlando newcomer Silvester van der Water capitalized in the 84th minute to score his first goal as a Lion, one that also ended the Red Bulls shutout bid. 

Homegrown defender Mikey Halliday earned his professional debut on the afternoon, coming from a start at outside back, and went on to play a total of 63 minutes. 

Both Orlando and New York wore their 2021 PRIMEBLUE jerseys, which were made from 50% Parley Ocean Plastic yarn. A selection of the Lions’ game worn kits will be auctioned off by the Orlando City Foundation with proceeds going to environment and sustainability efforts.

Head Coach Oscar Pareja:
“Two different halves for us. The first one we didn’t feel comfortable with the way we shaped the team and I think the players felt that. We didn’t look organized and New York took the initiative. I think, in that part, we [the coaches] take the responsibility because the heart of the players was always on the field especially in the second half when they tried to push in different ways to get the goal that could level the game. Much, much better second half when we started having better connections and we looked more like us. But, definitely a difficult week for us on many things because of the absences and players that are supposed to be here. But the boys that were on the field showed their heart and probably could deserve more at the end, but New York did a good job.”

Scoring Recap:

35’ Caden Clark (Patryk Klimala) - RBNY 1, ORL 0
The home side got on the board 10 minutes before the halftime whistle after Patryk Klimala sent a low, driven ball across the face of the goal mouth. The ball made its way through traffic, finding the foot of Caden Clark on the back post for the tap-in. 

60’ Cristian Casseres Jr. - RBNY 2, ORL 0
The Red Bulls doubled their lead an hour into the match after Cristian Casseres Jr. stepped up to free kick just outside the box, curling his shot into the upper 90 on the near side. 

84’ Silvester van der Water (Tesho Akindele, Kyle Smith) - RBNY 2, ORL 1
The Lions cut one back late in the second half, off the foot of second-half substitute Silvester van der Water. The play started with Kyle Smith sending in a lofting cross from the right side that was knocked to van der Water by Tesho Akindele. The Dutch winger collected the ball then fired home for his first goal in purple.

Match Notes:

  • Homegrown defender Mikey Halliday made his professional debut on Saturday, starting on the backline and logging 63 minutes. Halliday was signed by the Lions in July 2020 at just 17 years, 5 months and 23 days of age, the third youngest player to ever sign with Orlando.
  • Both sides wore the adidas PRIMEBLUE jerseys on Saturday afternoon, made with 50% Parley Ocean plastic — upcycled plastic waste intercepted on shorelines and coastal areas. The jerseys are part of the many ways the league raises awareness for environmental issues and helps to create sustainable communities as part of MLS WORKS’ year-long Greener Goals initiative. Orlando City’s will be auctioned by the Orlando City Foundation at a later date. 
  • The loss on Saturday marked the first of the campaign for Orlando City, snapping a six-game unbeaten run to begin the regular season. That streak was a Club-best for the Lions, going 3-0-3 to start the year.
  • Dutch winger Silvester van der Water netted his first goal in purple, with a score in the 84th minute. The Netherlands native has now had a hand in goals in each of his last two matches, after picking up his first assist last week in the Club’s 1-0 win over Toronto FC.
  • With a start on Saturday, Chris Mueller is now tied with former goalkeeper Joe Bendik for second all-time in Club MLS appearances (regular season and playoffs) with 92. 
  • Despite falling in the game, Silvester van der Water’s goal continued the Lions run of never allowing an Oscar Pareja coached side to both lose via shutout. 

Next Match: The Lions head into a three-week break, next slated to face Toronto FC for the second time in three matches on June 19. That match will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET